Pickles are like chocolate - a broad spectrum of textures and flavors and everyone has their favorite. Some people like salty dills, some prefer the sweeter bread-and-butters, some like the super sour ones like the kind you can find at Indian restaurants (I always have to suck down a giant mango lassie if I'm going to tackle those - they're incredibly salty).
I think I've found a pickle that might satisfy a lot of different pickle people - a jar of Mrs. Pickles from Lynnae’s Gourmet Pickles. Lynnae's pickles are a touch sour, sweet, salty and spicy. It might be the best all-purpose pickle I've ever had.
Made by native Tacoman Lynnae Schneller, the recipes come from her grandma, “Toots.”
Choose from sweet-and-sour pickles Mrs. Pickles, and Hot Mama, the same recipe from granny Toots, just a little spicier. She also makes relish.
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Prices at H&L Produce in Lakewood, where I bought some last week, are $8.99-$9.79. Her pickles aren't cheap, but it's pretty clear once you bite into one that the Tacoma company uses expensive ingredients. They're the sort of pickles you can serve on a buffet table or incorporate into a killer Bloody Mary. Here's a fun kitchen trick: When you finish off the pickles, save the brine and pickling spices in the bottom. Toss sliced cucumbers, carrots, radishes or any vegetable into the pickling brine and let it sit in your refrigerator for several days. Lynnae's brine is pungent - don't let it go to waste.
Find the pickles at Tacoma Boys stores in Puyallup and Tacoma and H & L Produce, which is a sister store to Tacoma Boys. I went looking for the pickles at Metropolitan Market, but couldn't find them there, but what I did find was something really cool - a huge display of pickles. If you want to put together a food basket with pickles aplenty, get yourself to Met Market.
Here's a bit more info about Lynnae's Pickles.
Editor’s note: This gifting series features edibles from South Sound food businesses. Check back daily through Dec. 23 for something new.